Saturday, April 21, 2007


Following the gorgeous run of WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT, in magazine format, from Kitchen Sink Press, there were other nice packagings of Eisner's THE SPIRIT from Kitchen.
A regular comic book format ran for a good long time, there was a run of quality reprints on stiff, coated paper, also in comic book size, but with a larger page count, as well as lovely coffee table books, such as THE ART OF WILL EISNER, and THE SPIRIT COLOR TREASURY, among others.
Those years also saw trade paperback albums of THE SPIRIT from Kitchen, including a lovely collection of Eisner's Holiday-themed stories, quite naturally called THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.
Kitchen also produced a wonderful picture disc musical record of "Ev'ry Little Bug", a song from THE SPIRIT in the 1940's. The disc came in a clear plastic sleeve so the beautiful artwork is easily seen, plus an illustrated lyric sheet.
California publisher Collector's Press published an exquisite color portfolio, in an astounding hard-covered, linen-draped edition. This item, from Richard Pryor, no, not the famous comedian, is pretty rare these days, but one can find it up for auction from time to time.
Kitchen Sink also issued some portfolios of Eisner's material, generally dealing with non-SPIRIT thems, but Kitchen also put out a SPIRIT mask, which is quite a collector's item.
Another quality manufacturer of comic book related items, GRAPHITTI DESIGNS, produced a full color, tin-litho lunch box of THE SPIRIT, which is also very wonderful in it's own nostalgic way.
GRAPHITTI also issued a number of beautiful t-shirts with THE SPIRIT on them, in a durable, rubberized design, but, please turn the art to the inside before you launder yours.
You can also find various pinback buttons of THE SPIRIT and company, but you have to look hard, and, be careful, not all such products are authorized.
There was even a pilot movie for a television series of THE SPIRIT during the late 1980's, on ABC TV, which, despite some beautiful Eisner drawings in the opening sequences, and a "game" cast consisting of Sam J. Jones, who had once played FLASH GORDON, and lovely Melody Anderson and character actor Gary Walberg just did not find a spot on the Fall television schedule.
Rumors continue to persist of various other SPIRIT film projects, though, and there is a quick homage to THE SPIRIT in the great animated cartoon feature THE IRON GIANT, a movie I cannot recommend heartily enough.
Kitchen also printed the "SPIRIT JAM", featuring a number of other cartoonists drawing THE SPIRIT in one long story, in book format, providing a longer life for a story that had originally run in the Kitchen WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT magazine.
Kitchen also gave fans a new run of stories in WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT: THE NEW ADVENTURES, which, written and drawn by other talented individuals, did not last long.
Sadly, Denis Kitchen's operation apparently fell victim to indifferent attitudes of a supposed cash-flow curing deal with a new partner that Kitchen later entered into.
Despite his issuing novelty items like chocolate bars in nostalgic style wrappers and boxes featuring drawings of work of other characters, Denis Kitchen, as publisher of THE SPIRIT gave up the, er, ghost...
But all was not lost...
to be continued...

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